Walkers in Bunkyo Ward won't get far before their legs let them know the place has hills — lots of them. A Bunkyo Civic Center official concurs: "We've named 113 slopes, but there are even more."

The Civic Center towers over Suidobashi like a colossal Pez candy dispenser, and from its free 25th-floor observation deck, some of the more famous hills are visible. To the west, Tomizaka (Wealth Hill) leads up to Denzu-in, which dates from 1415 and was a favorite temple of the Tokugawa Shoguns. Then running down to the Kanda River there's Andozaka (Ando's Hill), where Edo Period (1603-1868) fishermen used to dry their nets. But to best experience Bunkyo Ward's unique topography, you simply have to hoof it.

Bunkyo, which means "literature capital," harbors within its neat 11.3-sq.-km confines a whole microcosm of literati, from printers (think Toppan), to publishers (Kodansha, among others), and the former addresses of famous writers such as Kafu Nagai, Natsume Soseki, Edogawa Rampo, Enchi Fumiko and Miyazawa Kenji. North of the Civic Center, Kikuzaka (Chrysanthemum Hill) was once home to author Ichiyo Higuchi. Famous military physician and author Mori Ogai spent the last three decades of his life near Dangozaka (Dumpling Hill) in Sendagi. Even Iijinzaka (Barbarian Hill) in Yayoi was named for Meiji Period (1868-1912) foreign professors who traipsed up and down it en route to Tokyo Imperial University (today's University of Tokyo).